Baltidome Blog | Baltimore Green News

Hearing On Plastic Bag Ban In Baltimore

Plastic Bag Ban Hearing In Baltimore

On Tuesday, January 5, 2010 the Baltimore City Council will hold another hearing on a plastic bag ban in Baltimore.  Since 2008, Councilman James B. Craft has been leading efforts to make Baltimore the second city in the nation to ban plastic bags in grocery and retail chain stores.  San Fransisco was the first.  In previous hearings, where legislation would require a charge 25 cents for each plastic bag, the bill failed.

It only breaks down into smaller & smaller pieces that become part of the ecosystem.  In the middle of the Pacific Ocean lies a floating garbage patch twice the size of the Texas.  It is a place where the water is filled with six times as much plastic as plankton and is referred to as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Really, is 25 cents to much to ask to remind us to bring our own bags to stores?  People from other parts of the world have been bringing their own bags to stores for years.  According to the BBC, a 2002 tax on plastic shopping bags in the Republic of Ireland has cut their use by more than 90% and raised millions of euros in revenue.

If you would like to support Councilman Craft’s efforts to ban plastic bags in Baltimore, contact your city councilman.

To identify your district, CLICK HERE.
To identify your city council member, CLICK HERE.

Sample letter:

Dear City Council Member _____,
I am aware of an upcoming city council hearing on plastic bag prohibition in Baltimore.  I am a Baltimore City resident from your district and I support the effort to ban plastic bags in our city.  Plastic waste is a detriment to our landscape and waterways, as it never biodegrades.  I understand, that in order to reduce plastic waste in Baltimore, residents will be required to bring their own bags to stores and/or pay a surcharge. I accept this proposal and hope that you will work to pass these measures.

Thank You,
Your Name

Baltimore Approves Plan To Allow Residents To Claim Vacant Lots

Start A Green Space In Baltimore City

Baltimore Approves Plan To Allow Residents To Claim Vacant Lots

According to an article in the Baltimore Sun, “Under a plan approved by the city’s spending board yesterday, community groups that nurture a vacant lot for five years will be able to form a land trust to buy the plot for a nominal fee from the city.”

The program was initiated by Baltimore Green Space.  Baltimore Green Space was founded in 2007 by a group of community gardeners who wanted to see their communities’ treasured open spaces remain available to residents.   By working in collaboration with the Office of Sustainability, the group developed criteria for identifying appropriate lots and a process for the City to transfer the community-managed property to a land trust.

From the Baltimore Sun:

Residents who wish to purchase a site from the city must create a nonprofit organization and demonstrate that the land is being used for a fruit and vegetable garden, play area, neighborhood gathering space or in some way enhancing the community, under the plan approved by the Board of Estimates. If the land belongs to an absentee landlord, the city will attempt to acquire it through tax-sale foreclosure and sell it to the community group.

For the full article from the Sun, CLICK HERE.

For more information about starting a green space in Baltimore City, CLICK HERE.

Happy Holidays!
December 25, 2009, 1:37 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Happy Holidays!

Baltimore Last Minute Green Gift Guide

Baltimore Last Minute Green Gift Guide

For the most part, eco-shopping is an oxymoron.  The moment you buy something, that very same thing is built again, using new resources and energy.  Especially detrimental are the last minute purchases of useless items FedExed across the country just so that you have something for whomever on Christmas.

This year Baltidome encourages you to focus your last minute purchases on local services and goods.  Below is a list of truly green purchases available up until the day before Christmas.

Purchase a Maryland Film Festival Membership.  Become a Friend of the Festival and you’ll not only enjoy the annual four-day festival, but also invitations to screenings and events each month.   You can see groundbreaking films, independent films, classic films, and big studio prerelease films throughout the year for free.  A Friend of the Festival membership is $50.  For more information: CLICK HERE.

Give the gift of clay with a Baltimore Clayworks gift certificate.  Give something that won’t end up in a closet, or tucked away in a drawer. Something that they don’t already have one, two or three of.  This year, give them an experience.  Opportunities range from a one day workshop to an eight week class and prices range from $40 – $350.  There is sure to be something for everyone.  Gift certificates can be purchased at the Baltimore Clayworks Gallery or online.

Woodberry Kitchen is a Baltidome favorite featuring the seasonal best from local growers and emphasizes organic meats and sustainable agriculture.  Woodberry Kitchen has gift cards readily available for purchase during their normal business hours: Mon – Sat, 5 – 10pm and Sun, 10am – pm.

For a list of Baltimore neighborhood restaurants from the Chesapeake Sustainable Business Alliance, CLICK HERE.

Even if you’ve never done it, you gotta admit you’re curious right?  So, who wouldn’t enjoy a yoga class for free?  Whether you are a couch-potato or a professional athlete, yoga will help you in many ways.  Charm City Yoga offers gift certificates from $25 for single sessions to $125 for ten classes or merchandise.  Gift certificates are available online, by phone or at any one of their four locations in Baltimore.

Baltidome is happy to offer a growing directory of artists creating works with found materials.  When you support small businesses, you support your city.  From paintings by Eli Halpin created with salvaged paint, to upcycled  Craft Taps for the homebrewer, to Sweet Pepita‘s recycled children’s clothing, you are sure to find something out of the ordinary.

For the upcycled art directory, CLICK HERE.

The Antique Row Stalls on Howard Street in downtown Baltimore offers 10,000 square feet of gallery space featuring vintage and modern items as well as centuries old antiques.  Among the many unique offerings, the Antique Row Stalls currently has an unusual selection of ex-voto in the form of body parts.  An ex-voto is a votive offering to a saint or divinity, given in fulfillment of a vow or in gratitude or devotion.  They range in price from $75 – $150

For a list of suggested area antique stores, CLICK HERE.

Stop Going Green

Stop Going Green

Baltimore environmentalist and executive director of Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Mike Tidwell, made national news this week as a result of his essay To Really Save The Planet, Stop Going Green published in the Washington Post.  Many on the left and the right have used the title of the essay as fodder for rants on talk shows, blogs, etc., however, at the core of all the fuss is a well thought out article appointed with a provocative title.  In it Tidwell explains that, despite the fact green mania appears to have taken hold (“Look honey, another Vanity Fair Green Issue!”), very few of us are actually taking action.

From the article…

Even today, only 10 percent of our household light bulbs are compact fluorescents. Hybrids account for only 2.5 percent of U.S. auto sales. One can almost imagine the big energy companies secretly applauding each time we distract ourselves from the big picture with a hectoring list of “5 Easy Ways to Green Your Office.”

For the full article click here.

If you haven’t already read the article, please do.  It is a fascinating read.

For Baltimore City residents: Should you feel the need to take action, below is a list of current Baltimore City Senate and House Representatives and their contact information.


DISTRICT 40 (Baltimore City)
Catherine E. Pugh (D)

DISTRICT 41 (Baltimore City)
Lisa A. Gladden (D)

DISTRICT 43 (Baltimore City)
Joan Carter Conway (D)

DISTRICT 44 (Baltimore City)
Verna L. Jones Rodwell (D)

DISTRICT 45 (Baltimore City)
Nathaniel J. McFadden (D)

DISTRICT 46 (Baltimore City)
George W. Della, Jr. (D)


C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III

John P. Sarbanes

Elijah E. Cummings

Holistic And Progressively Green, Breathe Books Wins.

Holistic And Progressive, Breathe Books Is A Model Green Business

The web is full of press releases lately from businesses who appear to be using “going green” as a publicity stunt.  Switching to wind power, for example, is a thoughtful thing to do, but it is not the silver bullet that will suddenly transform your business into an environmentally responsible enterprise.  So, with this in mind, Baltidome presents Breathe Books as its latest Green Business Award winner, as it is an across the board green business.

In 2004 Former Journalist, Susan Weis began her transformation of an 1880’s Baltimore rowhome into a bookstore and educational center.  Her goal was to “re-create the new-age bookstore in Baltimore” and so Breathe Books was born.

It is a place that you would expect to be green.  The shelves are stocked full of books on meditation, yoga, spirituality, and the like and Susan made the switch to wind power some time ago, but that was just the beginning.  In addition to the typical items you would expect to find here, there are also books on cooking, parenting, and design, among others and between books are items featured by area artisans, local honey and soaps, organic teas and more, which opens the store to a larger audience.  Breathe books is not just delivering to the already converted. Everyone is welcome here, so there’s no reason to feel the need to have your tantric breathing down before entering the shop.  Do remember to bring a bag though, as Breathe Books is a bagless store.

If you do not find what you want, Breathe Books will order it for you, and not just the type of books they usually carry in the store.  Graphic novels, travel guides…you name it, they will order it.  By ordering from Breathe Books, as opposed to online, you not only support the local economy, but will save on packaging and shipping waste.  Breathe Books purchases their orders in minimum volume amounts -and yes, they still arrive just as quickly.  They are also looking to the future with e-books and taking steps to incorporate digital books into their offerings.  If you are interested in switching to an electronic book, Breathe Books recommends the Sony Reader as opposed to Kindle, which only accepts books purchased from and locks out formats from independent bookstores.

In addition to all of the in house offerings, Breathe Books also presents opportunities to become part of a greater community through numerous workshops and presentations.  Consider a class in Health Through Ayurveda or attending their yearly community party with vegetarian food on Christmas day.

For more information, contact:
Breathe Books, LLC

810 W 36th Street
“The Avenue” in Hampden
Baltimore, MD 21211